Written By Killian Lynch
This year’s Winter Shakespeare production brought another outstanding performance from everyone in the cast. The Tempest is a difficult play, especially for high school actors, but they were not deterred. The play takes place on a nearly deserted island, aside from Prospera, her daughter Miranda, and their slave, the monstrous Caliban. Tori Parker’s performance as Prospera lived up to all previous and fantastic performances she’s given. She proves time and time again to bring a grace and a heaviness to her roles as well as dedication. I am always thrilled to see how she will interpret a character.
Early on in the play, much of the cast crash lands on this island, including Ferdinand. Ferdinand was played by Joseph Schneider, a Junior. It was his first leading role in a Shakespeare, and he handled that pressure spectacularly. He turned on the charm in this production, and expertly wooed the young Miranda. Although in the context of the play, she had never seen another man, so we aren’t sure how difficult that is. Regardless, Schneider stood out as a committed actor and an emotional performer. He was the Prince Charming that role demands.
Don’t be fooled by the fairytale aspects of this show, there is as much treachery and betrayal as there is romance. Ferdinand’s father, the King of Naples, banished Prospera to this very island 12 years before the play takes place. She was in front of him for the line to the throne. Without spoiling the mechanics of the play I will say that the King and all his men make an excellent ensemble that leads to a hilarious telling of the story. Each with ulterior motives, they struggle to navigate being stranded on the island. It’s a challenging dynamic to achieve, but our actors did wonderfully.
I can’t speak for my own part in the play, I was merely a drunken jester, but I can say how lucky I was to have such great scene partners. Iris Cebula as Caliban the monster and Parker Loughmiller as my drunken companion Stephano made such complex roles exclusively fun to play. They both bring a unique energy to the stage that is unmatched by most. Their willingness to try anything combined with the rest of the cast’s efforts is what gave the play such a new twist.
The real joy of this year’s performance of The Tempest was everyone’s incredible knowledge of the script. For many, Shakespeare is no joy to interpret, but I saw in all of the cast a real interest in understanding the story and making it available to people of all kinds who saw the show. From my own perspective, and that of folks in the audience, I think that was accomplished. The cherry on top was the outstanding lights and sounds provided by the crew backstage and in the booth. It was mesmerizing and beautiful. Every aspect of the show, between cast and crew, was calculated and created in entirety, a heartwarming and hilarious show that has pride and hard work woven throughout it.